Romper

12 Emotional Stages Of Watching Your Kid Become More Independent

My son just turned two and, along with his new "official" age, he's developed an unprecedented new wave of self-confidence. To be completely honest, I thought I had, oh, another ten years or so before I had to worry about this inevitable development, but he clearly didn’t get that memo. This leaves me, his doting mom, to journey through all the emotional stages of watching your kid become more independent, regardless of whether or not I want to.

If you twist my arm I can admit that, of course, yes, seeing my son grow is one of the greatest joys in my life. However, it’s not always easy to realize a developmental stage I was totally enamored with has already passed us by. I mean, it feels like we just experienced that new change for the first time and it's already gone and my kid is already onto the next one and I'm just standing here, wondering what in the hell just happened.

So, yes, it's wonderful that our kids grow and learn and evolve and become self-sufficient individuals who will (hopefully) do marvelous things. It's also difficult to realize that your baby doesn't need you as much as they did yesterday. So I’m putting this right here, for every other parent on the planet who feels both excited and sad that their kiddo is starting to show signs of independence. Solidarity FTW, parents.

Questioning

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Wait, what? What's happening here? Did my two-year-old son just reject my hand and climb that step by himself? I don't understand. I'm not entirely sure what this means and I don't know how I feel about it.

Curiosity

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Okay, let's take a closer look at what's happening here. Perhaps this is what my mom friends were talking about and what all those kid books that make me cry were referencing.

Encouragement

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OMG, my kid is doing something new! My kid is so advanced! My kid is so talented! My kid is amazing! Go, kid, go!

Pride

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I'm crying because I'm happy, okay? Everything is beautiful and I'm not at all emotional. Please stop staring. Who's cutting onions?

Disbelief

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Did that just happen? I can't believe it. He's growing up right before my eyes. My kid is absolutely amazing and parenthood is amazing and life is just amazing.

Concern

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Oh, wait. Is he ready for this? Is he mature enough to handle these newly discovered skills and abilities? And this means a whole new level of baby-proofing is required. This means I need to Google like 50 million things. Am I ready for this?

Fear

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Since I've been a mom, I've had a kiddo who needed me for everything. I'm not sure I know how to be a mom to a kiddo who can climb onto the couch by himself. This is weird. This is strange. I'm afraid.

Panic

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It's happening  whether I want it to or not. My kid is officially becoming more independent. Will he ever need me again? What's next, he's going to be able to peel his own bananas and change his own diapers, then he's off to college? I need some air.

Sadness

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I'm still not over the fact that he doesn't want to be swaddled anymore and that his arms only have one roll and not five. Why didn't someone tell me that kids grow up quickly? Okay, maybe they did, but why didn't I listen?

Epiphany

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Wait. Isn't watching your kiddo grow and learn and mature what it's all about? Is there anything more heart-warming and soul-filling than that? I mean, aside from when they fall asleep on your chest. But still, is there anything else?

Excitement

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First my kid will show signs of independence, then my kid will straight up amuse himself for hours on end, right? Isn't that how it works? Should I just go ahead and start scheduling my own massages and happy hours now?

Wondering About The Next Stage

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Oh snap, but what about the next thing? Potty training, conversations about politics, eating with silverware? This is so intense. How does everyone else do it?